Picture perfect

NBC News interviewed Case sutudents who helped devise a solution for Aurelian Barber. Photo | The Daily

Picture perfect

Thinkboxers designed and built a device for a photographer's wheelchair. NBC News shared the heartwarming story with America.

Aurelian Barber loves taking photographs. But he has a condition called arthrogryposis, which limits the muscles and joints in his limbs. That makes it a struggle to stabilize and position his camera.


Cue the aspiring Case engineers.


Staff at Sears think[box], which is open to the public, noticed Barber trying to 3D print items to customize his wheelchair to expand his reach. They introduced him to students in the Humanitarian Design Corps, a part of Engineers Without Borders, on the 5th floor of the campus maker hub. An engineering project blossomed.


Under the guidance of think[box] staff, students designed and built an attachment for Barber’s wheelchair: A motorized arm for a swiveling gimbal. The tool allows Barber to take photos at a variety of angles and perspectives—something he had only dreamed about.


As Barber told NBC Nightly News, “Even someone with a physical disability can have … artistic ideas, and limitations should not slow them down.”


The heartwarming story, which aired March 28, shows Barber taking photographs near the Cleveland Museum of Art and Wade Lagoon. And it follows the Case students as they demonstrate the tools they used to create the device in think[box].


“This kind of project gives the students the kind of tangible experience they can’t get in class, including dealing with uncertainty and setbacks,” said Professor Andrew Rollins, the faculty director of the Humanitarian Design Corps, which is supported by the Case Alumni Foundation. “It’s also very rewarding for them to help someone in a very direct way.”


See the NBC story at tinyurl.com/caseNBCnews



Using tools and machines at Sears think[box], students designed and built an attachment for Barber’s wheelchair: A motorized arm for a swiveling gimbal.

Thinkboxers helped Aurelian Barber pursue his passion. Photo courtesy of NBC News.